Improving the World One Pen at a Time

November 6, 2018

To complete Robert’s  registration for an appointment with a  physical therapist, I signed my name on a small black screen and put the rectangular pen next to it. Robert immediately picked the pen and placed it carefully in its appropriately shaped black casing attached to the counter. Then, he looked at the next window and noticed another pencil  haphazardly disposed on the surface.  He rushed in and again, put it in the casing.  Then he repeated the same action in another unoccupied window.

A few days later, in the lobby of our local bank, Robert continued his mission to attach each idling pen to its proper resting place. By the time, I reached the teller’s window, Robert managed to correct the world three times.  There was the fourth pen, but it was still being used.

Every place we are going, Robert tries to improve his surrounding by many tiny corrections. Today, as he was leaving the barn after horseback lesson, he closed completely two slightly open drawers, and ajar doors to two bathrooms. Just before leaving, he noticed a small helmet left in the barn and placed it on the shelf by the exit.  He did a few other things, but so quickly one after the other, that I was not able even to register them in my memory.

Our trips to supermarkets are enriched by Robert’s effort to straighten and line up all the items in front of shelves. When he needs to purchase a can or a box of food, he chooses to take the one from behind so  the frontal display remains undisturbed.

A couple month ago, when Robert was leaving his neurologist’ s office,  Robert, without one word notice, turned upside down the mat under the computer mouse while the physician was still working on this gadget.  I am not sure if the doctor was more surprised that Robert moved the mat without asking for permission or that he noticed that it was, in fact, upside down.

Years ago, Robert became anxious during dental procedure not because he couldn’t tolerate discomfort, but because the cabinet doors were opened. So he got up, shut the door, and much calmer he relaxed on a chair letting the dentist continue with filling.

It used to be that Robert paid similar attention to the misplaced things at home.  Not any more.  In McDonald’s, Burger King, or Wendy’s, Robert will pick all kind of litter from the floor or other tables, but two pieces of the white paper I left on the hallway floor yesterday, are still there, waiting for me to pick them up.

No surprise there. Robert feels responsible for the whole outside world, but home, home is mother’s responsibility.

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